Thai National Parks

Birds of Thailand

Species of Thailand

Black-headed ibis

Thai: นกช้อนหอยขาว, นกกุลา, nok chon hoi khaw, nok ku-laa

Binomial name: Threskiornis melanocephalus, John Aubrey Clarendon Latham, 1790

The black-headed ibis or Oriental white ibis (Threskiornis melanocephalus) is a species of wading bird of the ibis family Threskiornithidae which breeds in the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia from northern India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka east up to Japan. It builds a stick nest in a tree and lays 2–4 eggs.

It occurs in marshy wetlands inland and on the coast, where it feeds on various fish, frogs and other water creatures, as well as on insects. It walks about actively on marshy land probing with its bill into soft mud and often feeds in shallow water with its head momentarily submerged.

Like storks and Spoonbills, it lacks a true voice-producing mechanism and is silent except for peculiar ventriloquial grunts uttered when nesting.

Adults are typically 75 cm long and white-plumaged, with some greyer areas on the wings. The bald head, the neck and legs are black. The thick down curved bill is dusky yellow.In breeding, plumage some slaty grey on scapulars and in wings and ornamental plumes at base of the neck. Sexes are similar, but juveniles have whiter necks and a black bill.

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Scientific classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Aves
Order
Pelecaniformes
Family
Threskiornithidae
Genus
Threskiornis
Species
Threskiornis melanocephalus

Common names

  • Thai: นกช้อนหอยขาว, นกกุลา, nok chon hoi khaw, nok ku-laa

Conservation status

Near Threatened (IUCN3.1)

Near Threatened (IUCN3.1)

Distribution map of Black-headed ibis, Threskiornis melanocephalus in Thailand
  • Amphawa District, Samut Songkhram
  • Ban Laem District, Phetchaburi
  • Bang Phra Non-hunting Area
  • Bang Pu Recreation Centre
  • Bangkok Province
  • Bueng Boraped Non-hunting Area
  • Doi Lo District, Chiang Mai
  • Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park
  • Khao Yai National Park
  • Khao Yoi District, Phetchaburi
  • Laem Pak Bia
  • Mueang Chonburi District, Chonburi
  • Mueang Phetchaburi District, Phetchaburi
  • Mueang Samut Sakhon District, Samut Sakhon
  • Mueang Samut Songkhram District, Samut Songkhram
  • Pak Phli District, Nakhon Nayok
  • Pak Thale
  • Pak Tho District, Ratchaburi
  • Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
  • Samut Prakan Province
  • Thanyaburi District, Pathum Thani
  • Wang Noi District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
  • Wat Phai Lom & Wat Ampu Wararam Non-hunting Area

Range map of Threskiornis melanocephalus in Thailand

Important note; our range maps are based on limited data we have collected. The data is not necessarily accurate or complete.

Special thanks to Ton Smits, Parinya Pawangkhanant, Ian Dugdale and many others for their contribution for range data.

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